MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — A bylaw targeting certain panhandlers has been approved in the Metro Vancouver city of Maple Ridge.
Councillors voted 6-1 Tuesday night in favour of the Safer Streets Bylaw, aimed at what councillors describe as aggressive panhandlers.
The new regulation prevents a person from asking for money within 10 metres of a liquor or cannabis store, bank, cash machine, bus stop or daycare centre.
Requests for money also violate the bylaw if made after dark or repeated when the initial request has been denied.
Violators could face a fine of $100.
Mayor Mike Morden says the measure will help residents move safely along streets and into businesses.
But Coun. Kiersten Duncan, who voted against the bylaw, says it could lead to the criminalization of panhandling.
"I strongly feel that we are regulating the way that people are living in poverty, rather than putting money and resources into social services," Duncan said.
She is urging council to speak to local service organizations to identify city-funded programs that could assist the poor and homeless.
"There must be better ways to go about this." (News1130)
This report from The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2019